No Virgin

No Virgin

The kind of shit that warms our hearts.  Seriously.  From JackMontana’s thread.

I know there’s a lot of words, but no one’s forcing you to read it.

Today (June 14, 2009) was my first time competing in a regatta. The race was hosted at Jordan Lake in central NC as part of the Carolina Sailing Club summer series. There was strong (for our location) representation in both Thistle and Flying Scot classes (around 8-9 boats each) as well as a handful of boats in an open class including two Buccaneers, a Catalina 16 and my ride for the day, a 5o5.

First, the obligatory sailing autobiography: first time sailing was 7 years ago on a Hobie 16, until the 5o5 came along, this was far and away the most fun I’d had on the water. I then bought a 22′ cruiser in need of some work. I hesitate to call this a mistake because I learned a ton about sailing and boat repair/construction/maintenance. However, it turned into a year and a half rebuild from the bare hull up so I spent much more time sanding then sailing. About the time the boat was getting finished I started to realize that I could be having a lot more fun on the water. I was lucky enough to sell it several months ago to a couple that are better suited to it than I. Along the way my old man and I took ASA courses through the bareboat charter level and I sailed anything I could find, which was mainly rental Sunfish.

Through a posting on SA, I ended up at a CSC regatta just to watch and meet some folks. I was lucky enough to meet DB (8351 and 8822) who subsequently invited me out on the 5o, promising me that it would be like a drug dealer pushing heroin into my n00b veins. After I got over the bewildering array of controls in the cockpit, I was enjoying myself immensely and found DB’s remark to ring very true. I was absolutely hooked. DB was kind of enough to take me out on many more practice sessions after that.

I can say, without any doubt or hyperbole, that I learned more in the first 20 minutes of 5o sailing with DB than I had learned in the previous 7 years cumulatively. Besides having a lifetime of sailing experience that he shares generously, DB is an absolutely stand up guy.

I’ve been somewhat like a kid before x-mas for the past few days leading up to my first race. I read and reread the racing rules and made mental and physical checklists of my responsibilities during maneuvers. I made it about a half an hour early to the lake this morning. The forecast was for around 6 knots tapering off through the afternoon. Though I’m not yet experienced enough to judge the windspeed accurately, the whitecaps and breaking waves on the shore indicated it might, in fact, be higher than 6 knots. It was definitely stronger than any breeze I’d previously sailed the 5o in. Although DB was disappointed that the wind died over the next hour or so (such that it was maybe 5-8 during the races), I think it might have been for the best.

The RC managed to get 3 races in on the day with the last being twice as long as the previous. Over the course of those races I managed to lose the spin sheet and guy under the boat twice, accidentally tripped the pole release twice, lost the guy out of the fork once, and tangled the jib sheets around the spin pole at least two times. Upwind I did a bit better and they were probably the best tacks DB and I had done together. My fumblings with the kite cost us dearly and the light air favored the Thistles. I honestly don’t know how we did on corrected time in our class, but I bet we did alright. DB is, I’m sure, disappointed with our sailing. Hell, we sailed bad by any objective criteria. Even knowing all this, I can’t keep from smiling now several hours off the water. The CSC community are great folks and good sailors, the weather was pretty decent and cold beers taste that much better after a day on the water. Most of all though, I’m smiling because I’m no longer a regatta virgin and I know that I’ll be racing sailboats for as long as I am able.

Thanks, again, to DB.